You would think the New York Knicks would have improved when Iman Shumpert returned to the court this season from rehabbing a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. After all, what team couldn't use a young and athletic defense-first player? However, Shumpert's minutes have cost Ronnie Brewer his playing time, and since then, the Knicks have gone 14-12. Many of the Knicks' problems have been blamed on the injuries of Raymond Felton, Amare Stoudemire, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby,, along with the over-usage of Jason Kidd at the point guard position. However, could the answer to the Knicks whoa's be as simple as finding Brewer more time on the court?
With the February 21 trade deadline approaching,many have been debating how the New York Knicks could improve and maintain their position in the Atlantic Division. However, putting Ronnie Brewer back in the rotation could be like the team acquiring an additional perimeter defender and could perhaps give the team the boost it needs to regain its early form.
Putting such trust in someone who seems like such a minor part of the Knicks roster might seem a bit foolish. However, Brewer was brought to New York because of his defensive abilities. This team has plenty of offense, but they need more defensive players, especially on the perimeter. That being said, most fans focus purely on the offensive side of the ball, and if that is how Brewer will be judged, then he surely won't see the floor again this season.
Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal reports how badly Brewer has struggled on the offensive end of the court in a Knicks uniform.
That might sound crazy to anyone who has watched the Knicks since late November, as Brewer's shot has seemed magnetically drawn to the back rim. His cold spell from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28 saw him shoot 29% overall and 19% from three-point range—down from the 46% overall and 41% from distance he was shooting before that.
While some of that was regression to the mean—Brewer was a 24.2% three-point shooter coming into 2012—part of it stemmed from the Nov. 26 loss at the Nets in which Brewer dislocated a finger and had to tape it in order to play.
To say he's struggled on the offensive end would be an understatement. However, Ronnie Brewer was brought here to defend. Since January 17 when Shumpert returned, Brewer's averaged just two minutes and 30 seconds in games he's gotten to play in. He had previously averaged more than 19 minutes per game.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson claims that because Shumpert has such a big future with the team,tthe coaching staff decided his development was more important than Brewer's playing time. That's fine. It is important to have an eye on the future and think big picture. However, there is really no reason why Shumpert should keep being run out onto the floor as he struggles, while the coaches know Brewer is healthy and waiting to make a name for himself on the court. There's time for both of them to play. It's Woodson's responsibility to figure that out.
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